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A colorful abstract painting is one of many creative outlets in the Arts.


Bachelor of Fine Arts, a studio art degree with emphases in Drawing and Painting, Graphic Design, and Sculpture; and the Bachelor of Art in Art.

Let's Get Creative! Visual Arts at Southern Miss

The department offers two distinct degree programs that include a broad range of opportunities for preparation in either traditional or professional career paths. These undergraduate degree tracks are:

1. Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), a broadly based, traditional arts program offered in general Art studies.

2. Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), professional career preparation in any one of the following three areas of emphasis:

  • Drawing and Painting. The objective of the painting and drawing degree is to teach all students an understanding of the expressive and investigative possibilities of two-dimensional formal arts.
  • Graphic Design (identity design, collateral design, editorial design, package design, poster design, advertising design, and interactive design). Graphic designers are educated as both artists and communicators, and they develop a high level of proficiency in traditional artistic skills and in advanced digital skills.
  • Sculpture (sculpture, ceramics). Sculpture students learn proficiency in a wide range of materials and techniques. Students are exposed to a variety of materials, processes and techniques in clay, wood, metal, stone, plaster and multimedia.

We are nationally accredited by the National Association of the Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).


Students begin their studies in the Department of Art and Design at Southern Miss in the art foundations program, an intense first-year experience organized to prepare students for a successful transition into their desired area of visual specialization. The foundations year includes five basic, yet challenging, studio courses including drawing, two and three-dimensional design and color theory.

As with the more advanced studio courses that follow, foundation-level courses are oriented toward understanding the creative process, as well as comprehending and developing a personal sense of visual sophistication. Also significant in the foundation year is the need to acquire, and use with confidence, a strong artistic vocabulary relating to the visual arts. A strong beginning makes for a highly qualified and professionally valuable graduate from any of the visual arts/design programs.

Once students have successfully completed the requirements of the foundation program, they move into their preferred area of specialization: drawing and painting, graphic design, or sculpture.

Degree Options

There are three Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degrees and one Bachelor of Art (BA) degree available with this major.

The BFA in studio arts has emphases in Drawing and Painting, Graphic Design, and Sculpture, which includes a track in ceramics. The BA in art is a great stepping stone for students who are interested in the future study of art history, art education, art therapy, or in working in museums and galleries.

The department also offers three minors: a general minor in art, a minor in graphic design, and a minor in art history.

More about this Major


Many of our students go on to either professional jobs in the visual arts or to graduate school. Students in graphic design often move right into employment in professional design studios around the nation and work in areas such as branding, web design, illustration, product design, publication design and a number of other design fields.

Students in Drawing & Painting and Sculpture often progress to graduate school and then into teaching fields in universities and colleges. Many also develop their own studios and work as professional artists, making art, doing commissions and fabrication, and working in galleries and museums.

Students who earn the BA in art often go on for advanced degrees to work in the fields of art history, art education, art therapy or to work in museums and galleries.

Art courses have been offered at Southern Miss since its inception in 1910, and the initial degree programs in art began in the 1940s.

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Southern Miss undergraduate degrees are available online, at the Hattiesburg campus, at the Gulf Park campus, and/or through a hybrid delivery that includes both online and on-campus courses.